This afternoon, former Virginia governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine met with Charlottesville women in a roundtable discussion about his vision for our economic future. At C'Ville Coffee on Harris Street, Kaine emphasized his strategies to assist small businesses and support job growth, develop a talented and competitive workforce, and encourage political and fiscal balance in Washington.
"Virginia offers some strong economic lessons that I think can help strengthen the national economy," said Kaine. "If I'm elected to the Senate I want to focus on policies that will grow and strengthen the economy immediately, increase the talent and skill level of our workforce to ensure our competitiveness, and bring more balance to both our fiscal issues and the way we do politics. The best idea in the world won't get anywhere in Congress if we don't have people who can listen to each other and work together."
During the 90 minute conversation, Kaine also discussed other issues critical to Virginia women, including education from early childhood to higher education. He voiced his commitment to working to increase the affordability of college and other secondary schooling and emphasized the importance of education and workforce development in his economic approach. As governor, Kaine worked together with Republicans to direct millions towards tuition assistance and pass the largest higher education bond package in Virginia history, updating college and university facilities to attract world-class students and teachers.
Kaine also contrasted his record on higher education with George Allen's record on education and the economy while in the U.S. Senate. Kaine has been a vocal supporter of extending current Stafford Loan rates and was a strong supporter of the 2010 expansion of Pell Grants. As a senator, Allen voted for the largest cut to student financial aid in the nation's history and preserved tax giveaways to big oil companies at the expense of student tax deductions.
While serving as governor during a deep recession, Kaine kept Virginia's budget balanced by working with Republicans to make more than $5 billion in spending cuts, including his own salary, while finding ways to invest in priorities like pre-K, transit, and Chesapeake Bay cleanup. As a senator, Allen helped add over $3 trillion to the national debt while voting four times to increase his own pay.
"I had to make a lot of tough cuts as governor, but I also learned you can't just cut your way to prosperity," said Kaine. "Even as we made tough spending cuts, more than $5 billion in total, we found ways to invest in things like pre-K for at-risk kids, boosting enrollment by more than 40 percent, that will raise our platform for future economic success. If we don't continue improve education at all levels, we will fall behind in a global economy."